We’re living in a time where many focus groups and other qualitative projects are shifting to online research. Moderators with extensive experience in traditional, in-person qualitative studies, may at first be hesitant to make this adjustment, but when done well and with the right partner, virtual studies can add many offerings and modalities. Now is an excellent time to become familiar with some of the benefits of online research and why it can be an ideal service.

1. Flexibility in Recruitment 

If a study’s recruit has a low incidence rate or cannot be found in one market, online research allows for a rolling recruit and can provide access to hard-to-reach respondents. In addition, virtual research provides flexibility for respondents who may not be able to get to a facility due to a condition. In the event of a cancellation, a virtual study or interview is easier to reschedule. 

2. A View into the World of Respondents

When moderators need to take a look into respondents’ home lives, virtual research is a great choice. Ethnographic studies can easily be completed by having participants engage and react with different products or experiences in their own environment. This can include opportunities for them to live-stream how they use products in their home or digitally record their reviews and experiences over time.  

3. Concepts and Multimedia Experiences 

If a study is focused on concept testing, remote research presents the opportunity for moderators to easily share written concepts, videos, or electronic assignments with respondents in advance of the interview. Respondents have the ability to digitally log their experiences with new ideas and products, giving moderators the chance to create more in-depth interview questions for enhanced insights. 

4. Privacy and Anonymity 

Online studies can provide respondents with complete anonymity when the situation calls for it. When performing medical studies, remote research gives moderators the ability to anonymize respondents should they require a double-blind or sensitive study. In addition, online services can be HIPAA, CCPA and GDPR compliant allowing moderators to ensure participant data and information is securely protected.

5. 24/7 Service and Support

With the right provider, online research services provide support and guidance all the way through research projects, which means moderators do not have to worry about sacrificing their ability to engage participants while figuring out how to handle tech issues. In addition, having access 24/7 allows moderators the opportunity to work with respondents who have challenging work schedules such as medical and business professionals.